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Cool Weather Prevails for Fall Turkey and Deer Hunters 2008 Turkey & Deer Harvest Numbers Up

Annapolis, Md. — Maryland hunters benefited from cool autumn temperatures this year and reported an increase in the fall turkey and early season deer harvests compared to 2007.

“The improved fall turkey harvest is due to a combination of favorable weather and a recent increase in the population in Western Maryland,” said Pete Jayne, DNR’s Associate Director for Game Management. “This time last year we were experiencing widespread impacts to deer from hemorrhagic disease, which attributed to a decrease in hunter success in 2007. I’m glad to say that Maryland is largely free of the disease this year and hunters are benefiting from a slight rebound in the population.”

Preliminary data show that hunters checked in 25,655 deer during the early bow, crossbow, and muzzleloader seasons this fall, compared to 19,988 for the same period last year. Bow hunters reported a harvest of 3,805 antlered deer (94 sika) and 7,573 antlerless deer (121 sika) from Sept. 15 to Oct. 31, representing a 19 percent increase from last year’s total of 9,549 deer for the same period. Crossbow hunters harvested 285 antlered deer (10 sika) and 633 antlerless deer (11 sika) during the statewide Oct. 1 to Oct. 15 crossbow season, up 30 percent from last year’s 705 deer. Muzzleloader hunters reported 4,858 antlered deer (328 sika) and 8,501 antlerless deer (157 sika), a 37 percent increase from the 9,734 deer taken during the early season in 2007.

Fall turkey hunters also benefited from the seasonable weather. Hunters reported harvesting 215 wild turkeys during the one week season that ended on Nov. 1, up five percent from the 2007 season harvest of 205. Fall turkey hunting is only permitted in the three westernmost Maryland counties. Allegany County reported the highest harvest with 100 turkeys, followed by Garrett (80) and Washington (35).

Firearm season and the remainder of the archery and muzzleloader seasons are scheduled for later this year so 2008 harvest numbers will not become official until all seasons are completed and the data tabulated in late February.

Bag limits, season dates and other hunting information can be found online at www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide. The 2008-2009 Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping, issued with each hunting license, contains detailed information about all of Maryland’s hunting seasons.

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